Pathologic Gambling as a result of Restless Leg Symptoms Therapy

So just what IS restless leg symptoms? I’ve always thought it was just stress manifesting itself in the middle of the night and a brief stroll around the bedroom or a good toto kl sore stretch and it goes away completely. Apparently, it’s far more prevalent in the U. S. and several new drugs for treatment have recently been approved by the FDA. Now for a medical definition:

Restless legs symptoms (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sounds in the legs and an unrestrainable urge to move when at rest to help relieve these feelings. RLS sounds are often described by people as burning, coming, tugging, or like insect pests crawling inside the legs. Popularly known as paresthesias (abnormal sensations) or dysesthesias (unpleasant abnormal sensations), the sounds range in extent from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.
The most distinctive or unusual part of the condition is that lying down and trying to relax activates the symptoms. As a result, most people with RLS have difficulty drifting off to sleep and staying asleep. Left unattended, the condition causes fatigue and conventional fatigue. Many people with RLS report that their job, personal associations, and activities of daily living are strongly affected as a result of their fatigue. They are often unable to concentrate, have damaged memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks.

Current treatment involves dopamine agonist treatment. One such drug is Requip, drug name ropinirole. In 2005, requip became the only drug approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration specifically the treating moderate to severe RLS. The drug was approved in 1997 for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Requip stimulates D2 and D3 type dopamine receptors, to stimulate motor neuron heating (activity-or signaling). The precise mechanism of action for the indication of both Parkinson’s and RLS are unknown.

The side effects of ropinirole are interesting to say the least. It has been reported that dopamine receptor agonists stimulate compulsive gaming ( NEUROLOGY 2007; 68: 301-303). Three subjects were followed from either never gambled or 1-2 visits to a casino to visiting a casino 3-4 times a week and losing up to several hundred thousand dollars. One possible mechanism of action is the stimulation of D3 receptors, the highest concentration that is situated in the mesolimbic path ways [in the brain, centers for controlling the following functions] implicated in motivation, feelings, and reward behaviors, which could lead to the development of pathologic gaming.

I can understand the “reward” area of the gamble–USC 2nd half football games the last couple of years have paid rents. Just goes to show how pharmacological treatment of brain function can have drastic effects.

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